By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, March 10th, 2012 at 9:25 pm in Oakland Raiders.
At the Commitment to Excellence dinner Saturday night honoring Rock Cartwright, I got the chance (OK, Paul Gutierrez from CSN-Bay Area was there too _ no false claims of exclusivity) to get about seven minutes with former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown. Not exactly a wide ranging interview, but with Brown, it doesn’t have to be.
On the Saints and the impending penalties for bounties and attempting to injure players
“I don’t want to say that’s a part of the game but I think it was done a different way back in the day. Reggie (McKenzie) can tell you, if you got a guy out of the game, that was a big deal. Now, it may be something that was done by the players and you didn’t have coaches involved, but nine times out of 10 it was a coach who got it started and then the players took it over.
“Maybe they just took the thing too far, but the bottom line is a . . . hard game, it shouldn’t be a dirty game. And if they can show any plays that were dirty, illegal, then I think they got a point. But if somebody hits somebody a little harder, it’s still football. As far as I’m concerned, there were times that I made deals with guys on the field. Look, if you want to save your knees, you better not take my head off when I come across the middle. Some guys went for it, some guys didn’t.
“Rodney Harrison never went for it. You going to take my knees, we’re going to take your head off, that’s how the game was played. So I’m thinking, whatever they must have done, and I’ve been hearing bits and pieces, I haven’t dug into the story, must have just gone past what we call football. Obviously, if you’ve got a big player, and you’ve got somebody, it’s just like what the Denver Broncos did to Chester McGlockton early in his career here. They took him out. And it was dirty. It was illegal plays.”
Beyond the normal cut-blocking that Denver was famous for . . .
“They broke his ankle. They were diving on the back of his ankle. That kind of stuff, and what we cried about back then, was, that needs to be punished. They got more than $50,000 fine, Chester didn’t play the next week, they came back here, in a playoff game, and we still beat ‘em, but they didn’t have to deal with Big Boy that week. I think if the league can show some dirty plays, do be it, but if it’s just somebody’s tackling somebody a little harder, because of whatever, then I don’t know how you come down extremely hard on that. Maybe just because you have all this evidence, and people are saying, oh yeah, there was a bounty, so maybe because of that you do it, but look at the football plays. That’s what I want to go by. I want to see the plays. You show me some dirty plays that New Orleans has, and I’ll tell you how bad they should be punished.”
On the fine line between a hard play and a dirty play
“That line is a lot thicker than you think. You can tell very quickly, who is being dirty and who is playing hard. Rodney Harrison was not a dirty player. He was just a dog. He was a dog, and you knew if he got his hands on you he was going to slam you to the ground. That’s not dirty, that’s part of the game. There’s nothing illegal about that _ it is now, you can’t slam a guy _ Rodney would have been out of the league along time ago if he was playing now. There’s nothing illegal about what he did. You just knew this was one of these guys that was going to play until the whistle stopped and maybe past the whistle. But if a guy, like Dale Carter, Dale Carter would try and take your knees out. He would try and catch you in a position, and he would get up (slap his hands) and say, Oh, I almost got you.’ Like he was trying to blow y our knees out. So you know certain guys you have to watch out for and other guys are just going to play hard and they’re going to play until the whistle blows.”